Scotiabank’s International Division Impresses Blackmont Capital

Oct.24.07 | About: The Bank (BNS)

Blackmont Capital analyst Brad Smith has returned from Peru impressed by the “excitement” for South America among executives of Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS).

Canada’s self-styled “most international bank” had invited investors, analysts and even some journalists to visit one of the jewels of its South American strategy at its annual investor conference, held in Lima last week.

From Mr.Smith’s note, it appears the bank put on a good show.

“While we expect management to reflect a degree of enthusiasm....[their] buoyancy transcended the formal presentations into the informal post-presentation interactions,” Mr. Smith said in a note.

Investors will also want to know that management gave a good account of its international growth plans, including plans to expand its branch network and consumer finance business in Mexico.

There are risks in pursuing growth abroad — political and economic risks in particular. But overall, Mr. Smith’s Peruvian trip reinforced his positive view of the bank’s overseas strategy.

“Scotiabank is uniquely positioned amongst its domestic peers to deliver strong relative growth potential,” the Blackmont analyst said.

“We reiterate our view that Scotiabank’s international division provides a superior risk return profile when compared with the highly capital intensive US retail bank acquisition strategies being followed by several of BNS’s domestic peers,” he said.

Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO), Royal Bank of Canada, and, especially, Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD) have been spending big in the U.S. of late.

Mr.Smith maintains a “buy” rating on Scotiabank.